Saturday 6 October 2012

CricketGeek Player Profiles: Samuel Badree

© WICB Media - Pal Pillai
I had intended to write a profile on Badree before the tournament started, but school work got in the road. Samuel Badree is possibly the most under-rated player on the planet right now. While his Trinidad and Tobago team mate, Sunil Narine has attracted all the headlines with his funky hair style and mystery deliveries, Badree has avoided the attention, despite also taking wickets and not conceding many runs.

Narine looks special. He holds the ball in a strange way. He flicks his wrist when bowling off spin. He turns it both ways. When he is bowling drama is in the air. It's totally absorbing. Badree is almost the opposite. He does get some turn, both ways, but it's not particularly exaggerated.

Badree is instead the master of line and length. He has enough variation that the batsman can't settle down, but enough consistency that if they wait for the bad ball his whole spell might have gone by and they've only had one ball to hit. For a leg-spinner that is exceptional. Narine is someone who you can't take your eyes off. At the end of a Badree over it is hard to remember anything happening. He bores the batsmen into submission. And he does it well.

His boringness is part of why it has taken so long for him to reach international cricket. He played his first match for Trinidad and Tobago in January 2002. It took until June 2012 before he made his international debut. 10 years is a long time to wait for a call up, particularly in the West Indies who seem to go through spinners faster than Hollywood celebrities go through spouses. In that time there have been 25 other players bowl at least 10 overs of spin for the West Indies.

He's only played 5 T20 internationals, so it is hard to draw much from his statistics in the international game, but he has played a lot of matches for Trinidad and Tobago, and his record for them is remarkable.

Career Economy Rate - minimum 100 overs

The most important question is really how many runs does a bowler concede.

We can see that he is unmatched in this arena. He is so miserly that if Daniel Vettori bowled 3 overs per match, and Badree bowled 4 overs per match, Badree would still average less runs per match than Vettori. Or Steyn, Ajmal, Swann, Malinga, or anyone else with an economy rate over 6.2.

Career Bowling Index - minimum 100 overs

The bowling index is found by multiplying the runs per ball and the runs per wicket. It is one of the best guides to the effectiveness of a bowler.

This time Badree is second. He's got the second best bowling index of anyone who has ever played, and the only one ahead of him, Narine, is yet to suffer second year syndrome, when he has to adapt to players figuring him out. There are a lot of very good bowlers behind him in this list.

Career bowling Contribution: - minimum 100 overs

Every wicket is worth about 5 runs to a teams total. So I subtract 5 runs per wicket, and then work out the economy rate. For more info see this post:

Again Badree's numbers are better than anyone else.

An argument can be made, of course, that it's one thing to succeed at the lower level, against players who are not very good against spin. How does he go against higher class opposition.

To answer this I looked at just his statistics in matches against teams with a heritage of spin, or from an area known for spin bowling. Generally a player who has grown up in one of these areas is likely to have developed a better technique against spin bowling. The teams that I have counted as good against spin are Guyana, Deccan Chargers, Ruhuna, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Bangladesh A, India A.

Against these teams he has bowled 36.5 overs and taken 8 wickets for 202 runs. That's an economy rate of 5.48. Worse than his career average, but still remarkably good. Of the bowlers who have bowled more than 100 overs, only Sunil Narine has a lower economy rate.

Likewise if we only look at his numbers against international teams he has bowled 35 overs, (some for West Indies, some for T&T in tour matches) and taken 7/182. That's a economy rate of 5.2. This would put him ahead of Narine, despite only counting matches against international teams.

Before the match Australia said that they were going to try and target Badree. That resulted in both of their openers ending up back in the shed. Bowling to Sri Lanka is a different prospect to bowling to Australia, but going by current form it seems unlikely that even the might of Sri Lanka will have an answer to scoring quickly off Samuel Badree.

He might be boring, uninspiring and easy not to notice, but his numbers are remarkable. At the end of the day a bowler's job is to take wickets and not concede many runs, and this is exactly what Badree excels at.

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